Self-proclaimed ‘prophet of God’ who was shot at US Capitol Visitor Center gets 11 months
A Tennessee man who was charged with pointing a gun at an officer at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in March 2016 was sentenced Monday to 11 months in prison.
Larry Russell Dawson, 67, of Antioch, Tenn., pled guilty in December on federal charges of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers while using a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Matthew R. Verderosa, Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.
The judge also sentenced Dawson on a second charge relating to a disruption of Congress in October 2015 when he shouted that he was a "prophet of God."
Dawson was also ordered to undergo mental health treatment in prison and while on supervised release after his prison term, according to the statement.
Dawson tried to pass through a security screening facility at the visitor center while concealing a gun in his waistband on March 28, 2016, at about 2:37 p.m., police reported. When an officer with a hand-held metal detector scanned him, Dawson pulled out the gun and grabbed the metal detector, according to court documents.
As Dawson pointed the gun at the officer who screened him, other officers ushered visitors, including children, away from the scene.
When Dawson refused commands to drop the gun and advanced on the officer, pointing the gun at him, one of the other Capitol Police officers shot Dawson, according to the court documents. He was searched and taken to a hospital in critical condition.
D.C. police recovered the gun Dawson had been holding and it turned out to be a Daisy spring-loaded BB gun. Because the gun resembled a semi-automatic handgun, and was considered a deadly threat it qualified as a dangerous weapon, according to the statement.
Dawson was the minister of St. Luke's Community Church near Nashville, Tennessee, according to the church's website. In a video on the website, Dawson says he was going to D.C. to push for a $15 minimum wage and asked for donations.
But Dawson had been to D.C. and caused a stir the previous year as well. In a C-SPAN video first shown locally on ABC7, Dawson shut down a U.S. House session in October by shouting that he was a "prophet of God."
He was removed from the chamber and charged with unlawful contact and assault on a police officer. Court papers show the judge filed a "stay away order" barring Dawson from the U.S. Capitol.
Dawson didn’t appear for a court-ordered hearing on those charges in December 2015. He was sentenced Monday to 90 days in prison, consecutive to the 11 months for the visitor center incident, according to the statement.
ABC7's sister station in Nashville reported that Dawson was a funeral home director for 30 years. He also worked as a bus driver before being fired for writing inappropriate letters to a student.